Guest Blog – Jason Troth Wilson Peak Solo


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

Hi Lou,

Great spring so far here in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. Our heavy March storms saved us entirely. We have the dirt layer too, which is completely exposed on most aspects except northerly pitches at elevation. A large amount of snow is gone from lower elevations because of this dirt layer so I imagine a lot of approaches are melting out early as well.

I learned this first hand yesterday as I carried my splitboard from the Silverpick basin trailhead all the way to the summit of Wilson Peak (north Wilson). I did walk on a fair amount of snow after the wilderness closure, but it was so variable and patchy that it did not make much sense to skin. Above timberline coverage was good on the Northwest approach, but steep sections of frozen corn kept me in crampons for the duration of
the climb.

Aside from having to down-climb a short section of 60 degree scree to get into the couloir, (good place for a belay), the snow was really cold and wintry on the North/East face. Round trip was exactly 7 hours as stated in your guide book. This was fourteener number 24 for me, 23 of which have been solo snowboard descents.

As you know, the “art” of solo climbing presents many unique elements and challenges to a climb — and the absolute freedom is liberating.

The “freedoms of a soloist” include: Peeing in any direction at anytime (except into the wind); talking to yourself, out loud, without anyone thinking you’re crazy; getting out of bed when you feel like it; never feeling pressured to keep up (or waiting on someone else); being selfish and eating all the chocolate; the list could go on… The most consequential freedom is that the soloist makes every decision with no outside
influences.

This can work in the soloist’s favor, like knowing you can change the plan and pull the direct route, without worrying about partner input. Sometimes solo decision making can work against you though, like deciding to ride out the drainage below the Wilson East Face and just deal with the mile or two of heavy timber between you and your car. A partner would have surely talked some sense into me before I pointed it. Woops.

The saving grace I suppose is that I can hear your words of wisdom being repeated in the back of my mind, both from your guide books and the time we’ve spent together. For this I thank you! So much happening in Colorado — thanks for keeping your website going strong.

Your snowboarder friend,
Jason

Comments

12 Responses to “Guest Blog – Jason Troth Wilson Peak Solo”

  1. Andy April 26th, 2006 7:03 am

    Very Cool! Every time I’m in Telluride I’m always staring at Mt. W and wishing I could get up there. Do you have a site with a full TR? Would love to see it.

  2. Giovanni April 26th, 2006 7:39 am

    Finally we see also a split-board!

    Great!

  3. Mark Worley April 26th, 2006 7:46 am

    Keep it up, Jason. Solo peak adventures are amazing. Stay safe and send more reports and photos.

    Mark

  4. Andrew April 26th, 2006 8:01 am

    Jason, could you drive all the way into the upper trailhead? (@ treeline?)

  5. Jason April 26th, 2006 9:49 am

    Sorry, no site with a full trip report. I am at the Telluride Mountain School if you need details for a summit attempt. Thanks for the interest and happy tracks!

  6. Jay April 26th, 2006 10:28 am

    I didn’t know the Silver Pick Basin trailhead was again open to the public. Is it open to the public?

  7. Lou April 26th, 2006 12:01 pm

    As far as I know, a property owner has declared that the Silver Pick trail is closed to the public, but many of the public who have been using that trail for about 100 year say that it’s legal. Last I heard, the property owner was allowed to harass you, but the Sheriff would not make arrests. Sort of a standoff. If you’re walking quietly up the road/trail at 3:00 in the morning during the fourteener off season, I doubt if it’s a problem.

  8. LBR April 26th, 2006 1:28 pm

    Nice report and musings, Jason!
    I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to-I remember your name from “Boarder Patrol” clothing b.i.t.d. and from a boot review in Couloir way back.
    Keep ripping!

  9. Jason April 26th, 2006 2:12 pm

    This is accurate Lou, and the traffic is very lite going in to Silverpick. Going for the pre-dawn approach is almost like being invisible. I did not see a single person the entire day. Just the way a day in the hills should be.

  10. Nick April 26th, 2006 8:30 pm

    I was just up at the top of lift 9 earlier this evening looking at that route with binoculars- and thinking of doing it soon. Now I see your report and am getting very excited!
    Last I heard about the silver pick closure was that the old road up to the base of the rock of ages saddle is acutally an old county road (Art Goodtimes i think was the one who dup up the old papers) and therefore anyone may use the road (up to where it stops below the saddle).

    a lot of silliness really…

  11. Eric April 30th, 2006 8:13 am

    Nice work Jason. Stoked to see some split-board action out there. Seems rare. Do you have spitboard partners? Do you find limitations of the gear frustrating at times? Keep it up.

  12. Jarrett Luttrell May 3rd, 2006 10:48 am

    Jason, glad to hear you are still shreddin keep us informed. Your work on South Maroon was an inspiration to me. Let me know If you ever want to meat up to ride.









     


     
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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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